The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Iran’s Cultural
Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) is searching for more
documents to enable the country to win the court case against the United States
on the matter of the Achaemenid tablets.
Office has set up a team of experts to look for the documents at the archives of
Iran’s Customs Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and former prime
ministerial office -- present Presidential Office, the office director Omid
Ghanami told the Persian service of CHN on Monday.
The project aims to
provide Iran with more documents to prove its ownership of the tablets kept at
the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.
“So far, the
documents found during the search show that the tablets have been loaned to the
University of Chicago and the artefacts have not been given as compensation in
exchange for services performed,” Ghanami noted.
However, he said that
the documents refer to implications of the subject and the team should search
for more reliable documents.
According to Ghanami,
it’s not certain when the court session would be held.
In spring 2006, U.S.
District Court Judge Blanche Manning ruled that a group of people injured by a
1997 terrorist bombing in Israel could seize the 300 clay tablets loaned to the
University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and the university cannot protect
Iran’s ownership rights to the artefacts.
cultural heritage officials’ protests against the ruling, the court was slated
to re-examine the case on December 21, 2006, but the court session was postponed
to January 19, 2007, allegedly due to the fact that Iran had not provided all
the documents necessary to the court.
The court session was
held on the above-mentioned date, but no verdict was issued.
Institute currently holds between 8000 to 10,000 intact and about 11,000
fragmented tablets, as estimated by Gil Stein, the director of the
university’s Oriental Institute.
The tablets were
discovered by the University of Chicago’s archaeologists in 1933 while they
were excavating in Persepolis, the site of a major Oriental Institute
The artefacts bear
cuneiform script explaining administrative details of the Achaemenid dynastic
Empire from about 500 BCE. They are among a group of tens of thousands of
tablets and tablet fragments that were loaned to the university’s Oriental
Institute in 1937 for study. A group of 179 complete tablets was returned in
1948, and another group of more than 37,000 tablet fragments was returned in
Based on a bill
approved by the Iranian Parliament in 1930, foreign research institutes were
allowed to conduct excavations at Iranian ancient sites exclusively or during
joint projects with the Iranian government. However, foreigners were also given
permission to borrow the artefacts discovered during the excavation projects
with Iranian team members and to transfer their share to their country for
However, many of the
loaned Iranian artefacts were never returned to and the bill was scraped after
the 1979 revolution.
Many Iranians believe
if the Islamic regime is proven to be involved in that bombing based on
evidences acceptable to the United Nations rather than the creation of
neo-conservative hawkish minds currently running the United States, it is not
the nation of Iran who should pay, but the ruling clerics; -and instead of
seizing Iranians’ cultural assets -- the Mullahs assets and their families in
the US and Europe should be seized to compensate for the damages.
Since the rise of theoretic-totalitarian regime in Iran, the Islamic regime’s leaders and their families have illegitimately gathered wealth beyond imaginations. Billions of dollars of stolen assets of the Iranian nation now belonging to the mullah's are kept in Australia, Dubai and a number of European countries as well as the United States and Canada for the future and the fall of the Islamic regime.
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